Friday roundup

A Friday Haiku

“Insufficient Funds”

The checkout cashier tells me

“Nooooooo!” comes my reply.

Weigh-In Friday

I don’t usually lead off with what my scales says, but I’ll make an exception today. What does the scale say? I don’t know, but the fox says, “Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringding!”

Sorry. Try to get that song out of your head now.

Anyway, the scale read — *drumroll* — 196.3 pounds! I think that’s the lowest my weight has been since before my thyroid went wonky and I blew up like the Michelin Man, so mid-90s? (And there is one photo of me from that era. I’m so puffed up, my eyes are squinty. I hope my wife burned it.)

So, yes, I’m happy. I’ve lost 2.5 pounds just since last week. Granted, I’m hangry all the time, but nothing a fun-sized Snickers can’t tame.

I was well over 235 pounds (maybe more, a lot more, I don’t recall) when I started this adventure. It’s taken longer than I would have liked, but I’m finally seeing progress.

I think that deserves an extra apple.

Sculpting

No, it’s not a new ADHD-driven interest. I wouldn’t have the patience for sculpting. Nor was I ever very good artistically using three-dimensional materials.

I’m talking about body sculpting. As the layers of fat fall away, I’m starting to see that underneath the benefit of the exercises I’ve been doing is starting to be revealed.

I do not have six-pack abs yet, but I can see that as the keg disappears, there is a six-pack hiding under there.

Checkout Limbo

I stopped at the store yesterday for a few things, mostly stuff for a cold. You know, chicken soup, orange juice, bacon, the essentials.

All the lines were long. I waited, then it was my turn. She scanned everything, rang it up, and just as I slid my card, the card-reader went blank. Then it flashed on, Remove Your Card. So, I did. Then it said Transaction Canceled and went blank again.

The cashier said, it says you canceled the transaction.

I put up my hands. “Not me. The reader is having problems.”

After several unsuccessful attempts to get it to work, she finally called for help. Another lady came and reset it then left.

We waited. I watched as the reader rebooted. Then it went blank again. I looked at the cashier and shrugged. She said the register didn’t come back up either.

By now, the lady who had helped was swamped behind the service desk. The cashier explained to those waiting that her register was broken.

The guy next in line gets huffy. “Why don’t you move to that register?”

And she explained that register was logged in by someone else, now on break. She can’t just log in. Besides, her cashdrawer is stuck inside this register, which she can’t extract.

All the others waiting in line filtered off to other registers, while Anger Man sat steaming for a minute as if our cashier had magical powers to scan his stuff. Then, throwing up his hands, he stormed off, leaving his shit on the conveyer belt.

She looked at me. “If anyone should be upset, it should he you.”

I said, “What good would that do?”

Which is really strange, because usually I’m the one who explodes in anger when things go wrong.

Finally, the other cashier came off break and my cashier explained what was going on. Cashier2 was nice enough to ring up my purchases while Cashier1 bagged so I could get out faster.

I scanned my card and that’s when I heard the dreaded words: “Insufficient funds.” I would have laughed, because now it felt like a bad sitcom.

I tried a credit card. That one said, Overlimit. Shit. Third time was a charm, however, and I left with my purchases, feeling a little embarrassed.

Outro

Another weekend is upon us. I hope it’s a good one for you.

I leave you with a song I only just heard this morning, but I really liked it. Made for a good drive in to work.

I hope it brightens your day as well.

Remember: Keep on keepin on. Resist.

-30-

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Tin roof rusted

OK, the title is totally random and is neither here nor there regarding today’s topic, which is “Doctors, Height and Weight Charts, and You.” I was just in a B-52s kind of mood.

So, I saw my doctor a few weeks back for my yearly poke and cough.

Well, to be honest, he stopped checking my prostate years ago. I guess the thrill is gone.

When he finished the exam, his verdict was I’m probably his healthiest patient (read: healthiest old guy). My chances of dying from heart disease are slim to none.

He did mention that risk of death from accidents around the house was increasing at my age, however.

I am also his oldest patient still on ADHD medication.

Anyway, we got talking about weight, and I mentioned that his scale is broken, because just that morning I had weighed myself at home and had gotten down to my nemesis weight of 200, but his scale said I was 207.

Sidebar: 200 is my nemesis weight because the last time I dipped below it, I went on a celebratory eating binge and promptly gained seven pounds that I’ve been struggling to lose since.

Sidebar 2: This morning I unofficially weighed in at 199.8. Unofficially, because I didn’t Bluetooth it to my phone scale app, so I have no corroborating proof it happened.

Anyway, he said that 200 pounds for my height was my ideal weight. Say what?

I graduated high school weighing 127 pounds dripping wet. I spent my early 20s hovering around 135, which gradually increased to about 150 (then 170, 180, and then my thyroid blew up and I did as well). So how could 200 be my ideal weight?

So I looked it up. First thing I noticed is the height and weight chart only aplies to people aged 25 to 59. I guess once you hit 60, no one gives a damn what you weigh. And before 25, they themselves don’t care.

The charts are broken up by small frame, medium frame, and large frame. Using their measurement criteria, which is the distance between the two bones in your elbow while doing the Chicken Dance, I figured I was of medium build.

Therefore, according to the weight chart, my ideal weight would be 151 to 166 (depending if we go by my previous height of 5’11” or my incredible shrinking man height of 5’10”).

200 pounds? I’d have to be a large framed man standing over 6’2″!

So, I’m not sure where my doc came up with 200, unless he has a height and weight chart specifically applying to those of us who have reached Level 60 or higher in the game of life.

So, now I have to adjust my goal weight, which has been 185 down to 166. Crap, just when I thought I was close, only 15 pounds to go, life throws in 10 more pounds.

It isn’t fair, I tell ya!

-30-

What do you do

Most of you read that headline and immediately thought, “I’m an accountant.” “A fireman.” “A secretary.” Or, “I work on an assembly line.” “I’m a postal worker.” and so on.

Most Americans, for whatever reason identify with, and get their self-worth from, the job they do.

And for many, when they lose that job, they lose who they are. They sink into depression and feel like they’re less than human, half a man (or woman).

Why do we associate who we are with the job we do? Why do we place so much of our personal value upon such a transitory, ephemeral thing as employment?

I’m not saying having a job isn’t important. It is. We need to have an income to pay our bills, feed and clothe our family.

But it shouldn’t identify us.

Especially when it can be ripped away so easily leaving us feeling vulnerable and naked.

When answering the question, “What do you do?” we should think of the real things that make us who we are, the things we do that make us happy, make us feel alive. The things we’re passionate about.

So instead of what do you do, how about we ask each other, “What excites you?” What energizes you?

Do you enjoy reading? You’re a reader. Be proud. Talk about your favorite book, your favorite author. When asked, “What do you do,” reply, “I’m a voracious reader. I’ve finished 10 books this month. My favorite was Such and Such because this happened and the writer hit me right in the feels.”

Any hobby is what you do. Do you do Knitting? Crochet? Painting? Craft-making? Baking? Are you learning a musical instrument?

I’m learning the trombone. It’s what I do.

I also write fiction. Not enough to make a living at, but it makes me feel alive to create new worlds, to put my characters through hell and bring them back.

I also run. So I’m a runner.

Ask me what do I do and you’ll get those answers and I’ll also tell you I collect comic books from the Silver Age. I enjoy collecting and listening to vinyl records.

In fact, I probably have far too many things I do and I could discuss each at length if I wanted to.

The one thing I’ll never answer to the question, “What do you do” is my job.

I mean sure, I used to be a documentation specialist and a technical writer. Then came the Great Recession and I became unemployed.

But none of that defined the real me. Your job is just a means to earning a paycheck so you can continue to do the things you really enjoy, the things that matter, the things that make you happy.

And because of that attitide I didn’t lose who I was when I lost my job. I didn’t feel I’d been cut adrift, that I no longer had an identify, or I had lost my self-respect.

Did I worry about where our next meal was coming from? Did I worry about losing the house? Hell yeah.

But that’s different. Those worries are always there, even with having a job. Money worries are different from feeling you lost yourself when you lost your job.

I heard someone say they have no hobbies. I bet you do. Do you do crossword puzzles? You’re building your vocabulary. Do you do those adult coloring books? That’s a relaxation technique; you’re fighting stress. Do you follow a sports team? You’re a fan. Do you have a pet? You’re an animal caregiver. Do you watch daytime soap operas? That’s a great memory exercise keeping up with all those lives. Do you workout at a gym? Do you eat healthy? Are you vegan, paleo, or a paleoveganista? Are you liberal or a socialist?

You see, everyone has something that makes up who you are. Sometimes you just have to look harder for what that thing is.

So the next time someone says, “What do you do” don’t go for the knee-jerk response and tell them what your job is, tell them, really tell them, what you do. And say it with pride. “I’m a stamp collector! You know what my favorite stamp is?”

You’ll feel better and maybe it’ll open up a whole conversation of discovery.

“You do? I collect beer steins! I have this really interesting one from Germany, when you look through it while holding it up to the light, it has a picture in the bottom.”

So really, what do you do?

-30-

Relearning cursive

Writers write. It’s the only thing we have in common. For instance, some writers use tape recorders to capture ideas, thoughts, and such, then they transcribe that to the computer.

Other writers do all their work directly onto the computer or tablet.

There might still be some that use a typewriter. I would, but I’m out of ink and since it’s a 60 year old manual typewriter, ribbons aren’t a supply you can readily pickup at the nearest Staples.

Still others carry a notebook with them and jot down ideas with a pen or a pencil.

Then there are the weirdos like me who write their entire first draft in longhand with a fountain pen.

I’ve mentioned my fountain pen addiction in the past. My first modern fountain pen was a Rotring Skynn, which I used until I wore away the rubber covering on the section, also known as the grip.

I also posted how I replaced the bladder in an old Estabrook J that was either mine in grade school (though I doubt it because I was rather heavy handed and had a tendency to destroy nibs), or it was my mother’s from the 1950s.

I also believe I blogged about getting a Parker 45 Flighter (age undetermined), which is still the smoothest writer I own.

So for at least a decade or so, I’ve been writing out my first drafts using paper and fountain pen. And for a decade or so, I’ve struggled to read my own handwriting when it came time to transcribe it to computer.

“Is that an i or an e? Maybe it’s an o. And what the heck is that word? Aargh!”

Here, I’ll show you a page from a notebook that I handwrote back in 2014:

Pathetic, isn’t it?

Imagine trying to transcribe an entire 80,000+ word document from that chicken scratch.

It slows me down at that point and turns the whoke process into a chore. I have several first draft novels lying in notebooks untyped for that very reason.

So, I have two choices, one is to stop handwriting, which isn’t really an option because for me handwriting is what makes the whole writing process enjoyable.

During the 1980s, I switched to writing directly to the computer and after several years of that, I realized my writing had lost much of its warmth, it seemed as cold and sterile as the computer itself.

Prior to the computer, I had written my stories out by hand, then transcribed them onto paper with a typewriter. This transcription part was an additional step in the creative process where I would edit and rewrite the story while transcribing, often going off on unexpected, but delightful tangents, changing or adding scenes in dynamically different ways from the original handwritten version.

That process was lost inputting thoughts directly into the computer. Once the doc was saved to disk, in fact, I hardly made any edits. It was as if the story had been carved into stone. So I returned to handwriting the first draft and then I gave fountain pens a try.

But fountain pens amplify my bad handwriting. Despite how much smoother they glide along the page. They glide almost too well and whereas a ballpoint pen will stop writing when you stop applying pressure as you move to start the next letter or word, fountain pens continue to leave an ink trail. You have to physically pick it up and set it back down again.

(So why, you ask, don’t you just use a regular ballpoint pen? Because, for the most part, ballpoint pens only come in three readily available colors, black, blue, and red. Fountain pen ink comes in a dazzling array of colors in every hue imaginable.)

Since I don’t want to stop writing longhand because of the reasons stated above, my only other choice is to improve my handwriting.

Fountain pens need to glide across the page like a figure skater glides across the ice. And in order for the pen to glide, I will need to relearn cursive. As you can see from the above example, my painful scrawl is a cramped form of block lettering. I print each individual letter.

To do that, I’m going to have to go back to basics, relearn penmanship from the ground up.

First, I have to change the way I hold my pen. I drove my grade school teachers all nuts because I held the writing implement clunched like “a gorilla holding a stick,” as one put it so elegantly.

As shown here:

Whereas most people have a writing callus on their middle finger (the flipping the bird finger,” I have a callus on my ring finger.

Therefore, I’m relearning my grip, thusly:

(I just noticed I have to relax my grip, my index finger is turning white.)

Second, I have to relearn cursive. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten almost everything about it. As I went to research cursive, thinking there was just one cursive style, I discovered there are literally dozens of different styles of cursive.

There is Spencerian, which is highly ornate with great flourishes (think of the Coca-Cola logo). Another style is Copperplate, of which the Declaration of Independence is an example.

I was able to narrow what I think I learned in grade achool down to one of two methods, the Parker Method or the Zaner-Bloser Method. I’m leaning toward Palmer because of the timeframe I went to school and because I recall the lowercase “r” being higher on the left upswoop, before coming back down and moving across. (Yes, see? I have no clue what all those swirls and swoops are even called. Yet.).

Aside from the grip, there are other physical techniques to learn, such as posture, and using your whole arm with your elbow anchored to the desk as a pivot.

I started this relearning seven days ago. I’m working on little writing exercises, loop-de-loops, writing the lowercase and capital “U” because someone on YouTube said all cursive is based off of the “U.” Straight vertical and horizontal lines. Circles. And so on.

My main concern is, that I’m not patient enough (ADHD! Which might explain why I didn’t successfully learn it as a child)) to draw perfect examples of each. I tend to rush things, which isn’t helping. My other problem is, my hands are not rock-steady. They have a slight shake to them. It’s probably the reason I abandoned learning how to draw. All my freehand lines have a slight shimmy to them.

I doubt I’ll ever ne able to write with the artistic beauty some are able to achieve. In fact, watching some of them on YouTube makes me jealous. For example:

And she’s doing it on a chalkboard with a tiny little nub of chalk! I feel so inadequate.

But then, that isn’t my goal. I just want to make my writing more legible, not recreate a flawless copy of the Declaration of Independence.

I’ll let you know how things go.

-30-

Friday roundup

A Friday Haiku

You can stand or kneel

Doesn’t matter which you do

But take off your hat!

Weigh-In Friday

I thought I’d get this out of the way first because the rest of this blog is political ranting. You have been warned.

My weight is up 0.4 pounds to 203.2 pounds. Way up from the beginning of August when I was down to 19i.6 pounds.

It’s frustrating to lose traction like this. I don’t believe I’m eating more, althoigh I have been eating pb&j for lunch instead of salads.

But the main problem, I believe, was my tinkering with my blood pressure meds, which caused me to bloat up to 208.

I’ll really have to crack down on all extra snacking, get motivated to exercise harder, and see where I stand next week.

It’s always so disheartening to lose ground.

Writing progress

My manuscript is coming along nicely. As mentioned last week, I’m going through my list of search words (and even added a few more, “just” and “that”), and making my sentences more concise.

And my mind stays in writing/rewriting even when I’m not in front of the computer, revising scenes in my head. Then I have to hope I remember it by the time I get to the computer. So far, I have.

One thing happened that I thought was interesting. My mind had two scenes, completely unrelated, that it was mentally revising simultaneously. Don’t ask me how that’s even possible, but it happened and I can’t explain it.

And when I made those edits to the scenes, they flowed better, were much tighter, and, I hope, will have a more visceral impact upon the reader.

The take a knee controversy

Let me tell you right off, this is much ado about nothing. As a veteran, I’m more offended by the assholes who don’t remove their hats or talk during the playing of the National Anthem then I am about how people choose to be reverent.

Let me also say, that when joining the military we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America (as well as the Prdsident, which makes me glad I don’t serve under the orange turd).

I did not take any oath to protect and defend the flag or the National Anthem or to care one way or the other if someone is allegedly, according to said orange turd, disrespecting said flag or anthem.

Additionally, nowhere in the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, or the Amendments to the Constitution does it mention anything about the flag or anthem.

It does, however, mention a little thing called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s in the First Amendment. Go read it and shut the fuck up.

And take off your goddammed hat, asshole.

Respecting the flag

No one cared about the flag until the orange turd started his tweet shitstorm against the NFL.

If people actually cared about the flag, they wouldn’t allow it in advertising. They wouldn’t use it as “wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.”

If people cared about the flag, they wouldn’t use it as decoration or have it “embroidered, printed, or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use.

But the same people up in arms about someone kneeling before the flag ignore how they themselves disrespect the flag every day.

Go read the United States Flag Code and shut the fuck up.

Are you really concerned about disrespect for our flag? Complain to advertisers when they use it. When you see a tattered and worn flag flying outside a business, call them and let them know they should replace it. If a business leaves the flag out overnight but has no special lighting on it, complain about that, too.

Archie Bunker lives

All in the Family was a sitcom that ran for nine seasons from 1971 to 1979. Created by Norman Lear, it dealt with some heavyweight issues of the day, like race, homosexuality, and other taboo subjects, and centered around the character of Archie Bunker, an ignorant racist, bigot, misogynist, homophobe, who loudly expressed his beliefs in every stereotype imaginable. He was meant to be so utterly foolish and exaggerated in those beliefs that it would allow us to see just how absurd bigotry in our society was.

Archie Bunker was never meant to be a role model, and yet, he certainly became that to an entire segment of the population known today as the deplorables. They even elected an Archie Bunker clone as President!

A clone that spouts ignorance, hatred, and prejudicial views daily from his Twitter pulpit.

The more we go forward in this country, the more the deplorables try to drag us back. Sad!

Master of Deception

Archie Bunker is, excuse me, TheRump is a master of deception and misdirection. He’s like a stage magician who distracts us with one hand while he does the actual illusion with the other hand.

In the case of the orange turd, he distracts us with tweets about silly, unimportant things, like the NFL taking a knee, in order to keep us from seeing what’s in his other hand.

In this case, he’s trying to hide the Russian investigation into collusion and influencing the election, the use of private emails by his family and Administration, the vote in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare (which luckily we saw and it failed…again), the fact that he was going to ignore the plight of Puerto Rico (and didn’t even know they were Americans!), and the current GOP proposal to “streamline” the tax code.

The GOP doesn’t want us to take a look at their tax proposal, because if we did we’d see it is just more of the same old GOP nonsense of lowering taxes on the rich and corporations and making the middle class foot the bill.

For example, the elimination of the estate tax is being touted as a great benefit to the middle class. Bullshit. It’s going to benefit the first family, their cronies, and many serving inside that regime. The rest of us? Unless you’re expecting to inherit an estate worth more than $5.45 million, this tax will never affect us. So don’t let them bullshit you that this helps the middle class.

Another example, the current economic advisor, Gary Cohn stated that the typical American family making $100,000.00 a year would save $1,000.00 with the GOP plan. The reality is, the typical American family only makes $74,000.00, while the median American family only makes $55,000.00, half of his estimate. In other words, although they say the middle class will benefit, they don’t even know what the middle class is!

In fact, the GOP tax plan is just more trickle down voodoo Reaganomics. This gives tax breaks to the wealthy, who then go on the piss on the rest of us.

Stop being distracted!

Tha-tha-tha-that’s all folks!

And that concludes another Friday roundup. I hate that current events and a certain orange turd force me to write political rants, I’d rather write about something fun, as I’m sure you’d rather read something fun, but it is cathartic, and it is necessary we continue to resist and obstruct this white nationist regime.

So, have a great weekend and keep on fighting the good fight.

I leave you with a protest song I’ve already posted on my Facebook and Twitter feed. It should be obvious it’s NSFW. Enjoy!

-30-

Friday roundup

A Friday Haiku

It’s time to party

But we can’t since hackers stole

All of our info!

Equifax fux us over

By now, you’ve heard that back in July Equifax, one of three national credit bureaus that contain all our information, was hacked.

Approximately 143 million people could be affected. Information such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, and driver’s license number could now be in the hands of unscrupulous cybercrimals.

In addition, 209,000 people could have had their credit card numbers exposed.

This is a data breach disaster of epic proportions. This makes hacks of Target, Wendy’s, Starbucks, TJ Maxx, Sony Playstation Network seem like peanuts.

Hacks like this beg the question, why do these credit bureaus exist? I mean other than to make our lives miserable when we try to buy a car. Why are they allowed to have access to, no, have control of all our information?

Didn’t anyone think it was a bad idea to have one company, or even three companies, in control of every person’s personal identifying information?

And why was this info stored where Internet hackers can access it? Shouldn’t it be on a stand alone system inaccessible to any outside snoopers?

And where is the outrage from Congress? Had this been the IRS that was hacked exposing 143 million Americans, the Republicans would have been all over them like flies on shit.

There would be Congressional hearings and investigations. Shouts of outrage at the IRS’s incompetence safeguarding American’s data. They’d grill the IRS Commissioner for weeks. They’d subpoena agency emails and records. Conservatives would be screaming for heads to roll and that the agency should be done away with once and for all.

Instead … silence. Why? Because Equifax is one of their buddy corporations who help the rich get richer by denying the poor and downtrodden credit.

This is our identities that were stolen and no one seems to give a damn. Everyone treats it like this is the new normal and we shouldn’t be surprised.

Well, I’m not just surprised by their lackadaisical attitude about guarding this information, I’m mad as Hell they had access to it in the first place.

Who wants to bet the Koch brothers info wasn’t affected by the hack? They probably keep the 1-percenters’ info secure on a separate gilded server accessible only to servants wearing tuxedos and white gloves with snooty attitudes.

Once again, a giant corporation fucks us over and no one cares.

Update: It looks like several Equifax executives sold their stock in Equifax before the hacking was made public. Scumbag bastards!

To find out if you were affected by the hack

Go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the Potential Impact box at the bottom.

If you were affected, then they’ll give you a date when you can come back to sign up for a free year of credit monitoring.

Good luck.

Amwriting

Yes. I’m still dilgently at work editing the first draft of my urban fantasy fairy tale novel. And yes, I’m still finding it enjoyable.

As I read through it this first time, I’m getting excited because I still think it’s really quite good. Which is a strange reaction for me. Usually, I’m my own worst critic and I’m usually judgemental to the point that I start questioning the story’s worth and my own self-worth as a writer.

That isn’t happening this time. Should I be worried?

Why I still treadmill

For a while there, June and July, I was running outside. I’d get up early, greet the sun, and go for my run.

But now, darkness greets me, so I don’t morning run, I run as soon as I get home from work.

And I run on my treadmill. But why, you ask. Didn’t you tell us a while back that you found running outside more interesting than running on a treadmill? That the treadmill runs seemed to drag on forever?

Yes. Yes, I did. But running on the treadmill is so much more convenient and the weather is always the same. I don’t have to worry about the cold or the heat or rain or eventually, the snow.

Plus, and this will seem a little anal or OCD, I don’t like getting my running shoes dirty.

There. I said it. Running on the treadmill keeps my shoes looking pristine, as if I had just bought them. And I like that.

Running outside, my shoes would pick up mud, dirt, bug guts, and all sorts of icky god knows what kind of gunk. Yuck.

No thanks. I can deal with that on my everyday walkers, but not my running shoes.

Weird, right? But there it is.

Running and rowing

Anyway, I’m back to running a little over a mile a day (I admit I had a few bad weeks there trying to adjust my schedule and remotivate myself), except for the occasional rest day. Instead of increasing my distance, I’m gradually increasing the incline. I’m up to 5%, which doesn’t sound like much, but I can feel it in my hammies and glutes.

Then, after I run the mile, I immediately jump on my Cardiofit and row for several more minutes.

This keeps my heartrate up while working different muscle groups.

We’ll see if it makes a difference.

Weigh-In Friday

I made a decision on my diuretic. Last Friday, I weighed 204 pounds. Up from the previous Friday, but down from that Wednesday.

Well, on Saturday, I weighed myself and I had ballooned up to 208!

C’mon! It had taken me nearly two years to drop 30 pounds. I wasn’t about to put up with my weight going up and down like a yo-yo because of how much water I was retaining depending on how much salt I consumed.

My scale shouldn’t be like a roulette wheel where I wonder what weight it will stop on each time I step on it.

Therefore, I went back on the diuretic.

Today my weight is down to 200.7 pounds. Nearly what it was before I started monkeying around with my hypertension meds.

I’m back on track with my weight loss goal. No more experiments.

A Haiku about TheRump

He thinks he’s our king,

And we’re his loving subjects;

Fuck you, you orange turd.

And In Closing

For those in the path of Irma, stay safe. You’re in our thoughts. As are the people in Texas still trying to recover from Harvey.

For the rest of you, I hope ya’ll have a great weekend, even if some pimply-faced teenager in Russia is maxing out your credit thanks to Equifax.

Here’s a song to leave you with:

Enjoy.

-30-

June running challenge

I decided to challenge myself this month. In June, I am going to attempt to run a mile every day.

I’ve been rather slothful lately in my workouts, running only once, maybe twice a week, if that, and I’m feeling a little schlumpy, if you know what I mean.

If you do know what I mean, tell me so we’ll both know.

At this morning’s weigh-in I realized I was above the 200 pound plateau I was so happy I’d finally broken (200.5 pounds, to be exact). The weight gain might have contributed to my recent running slump or the running slump contributed to the weight gain. Whatever.

On the last day of May, the 31st, I ran a slow and schlumpy 5k on the treadmill. For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the energy to run at the more intense pace I’d reached just a month prior. I kept slowing down, even walking, before forcing myself into a sprint, with the hopes of burning off the lazy. It didn’t and I finished the run very disheartened and unsatisfied. 

Because I felt so out of shape  (even though I’m still in better shape than I was just a year ago when I returned to running), I decided to take up the … drumroll, please  … June Mile A Day Challenge

I believe Runner’s World has one of these mile-a-day challenges going on, but when I looked it up, I was already too late. It started on Memorial Day and will run until the 4th of July. I guess that adds up to 37 miles in 37 days.

Since I missed it  (although I guess I could have cheated and said my 5k counted as a mile for May 29, 30, and 31st), I decided to run my own challenge starting on June 1st.

Yesterday I ran a decent mile in about 8:48, I believe. 

This morning, yes, I said this morning. I know, right? Me, an affirmed hater of mornings and morning people, actually getting up and doing something strenuous before I’ve had my coffee?

To put this in perspective, the last time I ran in the morning was 1985. I hated it and never did it again. And before that, it was a decade earlier at boot camp, where I didn’t have much choice,  except in the hating of it.

But I figure, if I’m going to complete a challenge of running a mile every single day, then I don’t want to take the chance that something might come up in the evening that could interfere with me getting my run in. 

Thus, I ran this morning.

Typically in the morning, my wife gets up first, takes her shower, then I get up and stumble downstairs into the shower. This morning however, I got up when she did (on the sly so she wouldn’t ask me a bunch of questions before I had some coffee — yes, I’m a complete bear in the morning), did some calf stretches, put on my gear, and hit the treadmill. 

And To be honest, it wasn’t that bad of an experience. I did not hate it, which I was totally prepared for. I got a decent time in, I forget exacts — c’mon, it was 5:30 in the morning! — but it was slightly over 9 minutes. Not too shabby for my first morning run in over thirty years.

Afterward, I took a cool, almost cold shower, which again, if you know me is completely divergent from my normal shower which is so hot it’s like a steam bath in there when I finish. Since I was already hot from running, I figured the shower would cool me down.

One benefit of a morning run I did not foresee — and since it’s my first morning run I can’t really extrapolate today’s experience as the new normal — is that I was not tired and sluggish when I got to work.

Mornings are usually a struggle for me to stay awake, no matter how many coffees I guzzle, which is why I’ve always hated them. I operate in this fog for the first couple hours. Given my druthers, I would rather sleep until 9:30 am to avoid feeling so muddled.

But this morning, I felt bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as they say. If I discover this is an actual sustainable benefit, then I might continue to run in the morning. *shudder* Did I really just say that?

I hope another benefit of morning runs is that I won’t struggle to fall asleep at night. As I’ve mentioned previously, evening runs tend to make for restless nights. I haven’t figured out why. Usually an aspirin or two and a melatonin help. Last night they didn’t. But with a morning run, all that excess energy or adrenaline or whatever it is that courses through our veins after a run will have long since disappated by the time I lay down to sleep.

Maybe that’s why I’m more alert this morning, because the post-run juices that prevent me from falling asleep are helping to keep me alert now.

One last thing just so there’s no misunderstanding: I am not now, nor will I ever be, a morning person

Just because you happen to see me up and running in the morning and you give me a chipper “Good morning!” along with a cheerful smile and an enthusiastic wave, does not mean I will reply in kind.

If I do growl, “morning,” however, it is merely an acknowledgement as to the time of day and not to the quality of it.

A curmudgeon I am and a curmudgeon I will remain until the sun reaches its zenith and I’ve had my four cups of coffee.

Have you joined the mile-a-day challenge?

Day 2, Mile 2.

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